Mak awaits sign-off for appointment as construction minister

Alan Mak is set to be appointed construction minister in the next few weeks, Construction News understands.

Nusrat Ghani left the role on 26 March, after 16 months in post.

On that same day, Mak (pictured) was appointed parliamentary under-secretary of state for industry and economic security – a junior minister in both the Cabinet Office and Department for Business and Trade (DBT) — but he has not yet been formally assigned a list of specific responsibilities.

CN understands that he will be handed the construction brief but the full list is still being worked out by civil servants, as some other responsibilities have not yet been allocated.

However, it is expected that Mak, who is MP for Havant, will be handed the construction brief.

The DBT has been contacted for comment about whether Mak will take on responsibility for the sector.

Former corporate lawyer Mak, 40, has been the MP for Havant in Hampshire since 2015.

If appointed to the post, he will become the 25th holder of the title in 24 years.

Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis said the “constant churn” of ministers leads to poor policy development and delivery, given the complex nature of the construction industry and the time it takes to understand its issues.

“It also means that the government focuses more on a constant stream of public relations announcements (stating that it wants more homes and infrastructure) rather than actually delivering (more homes and better infrastructure),” he said.

“The constant churn in construction ministers also illustrates how little government and MPs with aspirations value the construction minister position as they see it merely as a stepping stone to a position that they consider more important.”

He added that given the number of people employed by the industry and its importance to delivering new homes, infrastructure, and economic growth that “construction deserves far better”.

Ghani was initially appointed minister of state for industry – with a brief covering 15 different areas including defence and aerospace — in November 2022 in what was then the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

That department was abolished in February 2023 and replaced with the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

Her position also came under the remit of the Cabinet Office due to it gaining responsibility for the Investment Security Unit, which assesses national security risks from certain investments.

Following that change, construction was no longer listed as a distinct part of Ghani’s brief on the UK Government website, though she continued to co-chair the Construction Leadership Council.

Her 16 months in the role made Ghani the joint longest-serving holder of the post since Nick Boles served for nearly two years up to July 2016. Nadhim Zahawi also stayed in the role for 16 months up to December 2020.

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